How Tribalism Killed Love

How tribalism killed love
Is no abstract picture
Etched in tribal marks
And narrated in the invisible, drawn line
Between one people

How tribalism killed love
Is the vivid tale
Of a date resting in the belly of the 20th century
When we sat as we did in a meet
On the first floor of the tower of Babel
Lips itching with unsaid ideas
But when we spoke
When we were not heard; couldn’t hear
When we spoke louder
For raised voices must be the cure for partial hearing
And when we were still not heard; couldn’t hear
There was only one thing we knew
That spoke even louder than words

How tribalism killed love
Is a story of the war between two brothers
Staged at home
Fought with our neighbor’s kitchen knives
And mama’s heavy grinding stones
And cracks to the skin that came from papa’s new belt
Turning into darts the nails from which our family picture hung
And leaving red trails that told our story as we progressed
From room to ruined room
God save mama’s lovely home

All could have easily been put back in place
Amended, fixed: righted
When we’d exhausted ourselves and confessed our sins

I was handy with the mop
And he with the broom
It could’ve been a complete restoration
While we whistled the tunes of the same song

But when our hearts had done its racing and was done
When the red blind had been peeled from our eyes
We turned and we saw

The knives we threw and missed
The nails on which our family picture had hung that we let fly
The iron buckle of papa’s belt that’d come off
The full imprint of mama’s stones

We turned and we saw
Where they’d chosen to rest
On mama’s very little boy
Whose legs could not stand yet
Whom they’d loved way more than mama
Choosing to cling; holding on dearly

The sight of him told our story far better
Than any red trails of the floor did

The wounds will go
But the scars will stay

He will live
But don’t ask him to love

Why not share?

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